Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr is a Senior Journalist at ScienceAlert, where her deep love and curiosity for the cosmos has made the publication a world leader in reporting developments in space research. She is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years of experience in the science and technology sectors. Prior to joining the ScienceAlert team in 2017, she worked for seven years at CNET, where she created the role of Science Editor.Source
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Powerful Radio Signal From Deep Space Appears to Be Repeating in a 16-Day Cycle

Powerful Radio Signal From Deep Space Appears to Be Repeating in a 16-Day Cycle

One of the defining characteristics of the mysterious deep-space signals we call is that they are unpredictable. They belch out across the cosmos without rhyme or reason, with no discernible pattern, making them incredibly hard to study.Now, for the first time, astronomers have found a ( ) that repeats on a regular cycle.Every 16.35 days, the signal named FRB 180916.J0158+65 follows a similar pattern. For four days, it will spit out a burst or two every hour. Then it falls silent for 12 days. Then the whole thing repeats.Astronomers with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment...

February 11, 2020
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Scientists Find a Half Male, Half Female Bee, Split Right Down The Middle

Scientists Find a Half Male, Half Female Bee, Split Right Down The Middle

Broadly speaking, animals tend to be sexually dimorphic. You have males, with small gametes, and females, with large gametes, both of which are required for sexual reproduction. Every now and again, though, nature throws a curveball - producing an organism that's a combination of both sexes, divided straight down the middle.This condition is known as gynandromorphism, and scientists have just found the first known gynandromorphic individual of its species in a nocturnal bee native to Central and South America, Megalopta amoenae.On its left side, the bee is physiologically male. It has a...

April 3, 2020
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Scientists Claim to Have Found The First Known Extraterrestrial Protein in a Meteorite

Scientists Claim to Have Found The First Known Extraterrestrial Protein in a Meteorite

A new discovery could be a clue for us to see if life could emerge elsewhere in the Solar System. Using a new analysis technique, scientists think they have found an extraterrestrial protein, tucked inside a meteorite that fell to Earth 30 years ago.If their results can be replicated, it will be the first protein ever identified that didn't originate here on Earth."This paper characterises the first protein to be discovered in a meteorite," the researchers wrote in a paper . Their work is yet to be peer reviewed, but the implications of this finding are noteworthy.Over the last few years,...

March 3, 2020
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For The First Time in History, a Spacecraft Has 'Touched' The Sun

For The First Time in History, a Spacecraft Has 'Touched' The Sun

In an incredible historic first, a human-made spacecraft has swooped in and made contact with the Sun.On 28 April 2021, NASA's Parker Solar Probe actually flew into and through the solar corona, the upper atmosphere of the Sun. Not only did it live to tell the tale – proving the efficacy of Parker's high-tech heat shielding – it took in situ measurements, giving us a wealth of never-before-seen data on the heart of our Solar System."Parker Solar Probe 'touching the Sun' is a monumental moment for solar science and a truly remarkable feat," , associate administrator for the Science Mission...

Dec 15
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The Genome of a Human From an Unknown Population Has Been Recovered From Cave Dirt

The Genome of a Human From an Unknown Population Has Been Recovered From Cave Dirt

A cup of mud that has been buried beneath the floor of a cave for millennia has just yielded up the genome of an ancient human.Analysis reveals traces of a woman who lived 25,000 years ago, during the last ice age; and, although we don't know much about her, she represents a significant scientific achievement: the feasibility of identifying ancient human populations even when there are no bones to recover.The sample also yielded DNA from wolf and bison species, which an international team of scientists were able to place in the context of their population histories."Our results," , "provide...

July 14, 2021
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Physicists Have Caught Electron Orbits in an Exciton Quasiparticle For The First Time

Physicists Have Caught Electron Orbits in an Exciton Quasiparticle For The First Time

There's been a fabulous new achievement in particle physics.For the first time, scientists have managed to image the orbits of electrons within a known as an exciton - a result that has allowed them to finally measure the excitonic wave function describing the spatial distribution of electron momentum within the quasiparticle.This achievement has been sought since the discovery of excitons in the 1930s, and while it may sound abstract at first, it could help in the development of various technologies, including quantum tech applications."Excitons are really unique and interesting particles;...

April 22, 2021
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Scientists Have Described a Dinosaur's Butthole in Exquisite Detail

Scientists Have Described a Dinosaur's Butthole in Exquisite Detail

When a dog-sized Psittacosaurus was living out its days on Earth, it was probably concerned with mating, eating, and not being killed by other . It would never even have crossed its mind that, 120 million or so years later, scientists would be peering intensely up its clacker.However, that's precisely what they have done, yielding the most detailed description yet of a non-avian 's cloaca: the catch-all hole used for peeing, pooping, mating, and laying eggs.This Swiss Army knife of buttholes is common throughout the animal kingdom today - all birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even a few...

January 20, 2021
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Scientists Translated Spiderwebs Into Music, And It's Beyond Stunning

Scientists Translated Spiderwebs Into Music, And It's Beyond Stunning

Spiders rely quite significantly on touch to sense the world around them. Their bodies and legs are covered in tiny hairs and slits that can distinguish between different kinds of vibrations.Prey blundering into a web makes a very different vibrational clamor from another spider coming a-wooing, or the stirring of a breeze, for example. Each strand of a web produces a different tone.A few years ago, scientists translated the three-dimensional structure of a spider's web into music, working with artist Tomás Saraceno to create an interactive musical instrument, titled . Now the team has...

April 16, 2021
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For The First Time, Scientists Have Detected X-Rays Coming Out of Uranus

For The First Time, Scientists Have Detected X-Rays Coming Out of Uranus

Every planet in the Solar System has its idiosyncrasies, but Uranus is, truly, one of a kind.Not only is it so its rotational axis is practically parallel to its orbital plane, it , it's , its magnetic field is an utter mess, and it in the Solar System.But wait, there's more. Around 20 years ago, astronomers turned their instruments to capture X-ray emissions coming from Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Unlike every planet before it, Uranus had nary a flash to be seen.Now, for the first time, we've detected X-rays emanating from the Solar System's oddest ball, and it's not quite clear where...

April 3, 2021
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Scientists Find The First Animal That Doesn't Need Oxygen to Survive

Scientists Find The First Animal That Doesn't Need Oxygen to Survive

Some truths about the Universe and our experience in it seem immutable. The sky is up. Gravity sucks. Nothing can travel faster than light. Multicellular life needs oxygen to live. Except we might need to rethink that last one.Earlier this year, scientists discovered that a jellyfish-like parasite doesn't have a mitochondrial genome - the first multicellular organism known to have this absence. That means it doesn't breathe; in fact, it lives its life completely free of oxygen dependency.This discovery isn't just changing our understanding of how life can work here on Earth - it could also...

May 10, 2020
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